On Saturday night, Jared Cannonier edged out Kelvin Gastelum by unanimous decision over five hard fought rounds. Cannonier did a great job of defending Gastelum’s take-down attempts and was the sharper striker over the course of the fight. The biggest moment of the fight came when Cannonier dropped Gastelum with a right hook in the third round. Cannonier has won four of five fights since dropping to middleweight. He expressed interest in a title shot after the fight, but he likely needs another big win. In upcoming middleweight fights, Darren Till is facing Derek Brunson, while Paulo Costa is facing Marvin Vettori. Cannnonier should face either one of the winners.
Gastelum has now lost five of his last six fights. Unless he’s stepping up as a short notice replacement, Gastelum’s days of fighting top contenders are over for now. He is still a talented fighter though and is the perfect gatekeeper for upcoming middleweight prospects.
In the co-main event, Mark Madsen remained undefeated, eeking out a split decision over Clay Guida. Surprisingly, Madsen chose to strike with Guida instead of using his Olympic caliber wrestling. Madsen used the jab, pushed a good pace and landed knees in the clinch to sway the judges in his favor. He called out Gregor Gillespie after the fight and that’s a match-up that makes sense.
Guida is nearing 40 years old and has lost four of his last six fights. He’s still a tough fighter and should continue to play the gatekeeper role in the lightweight division.
Parker Porter scored his second straight win with a unanimous decision over Chase Sherman. Both fighters took their fair share of damage, but Porter just outworked Sherman and had him more visibly hurt. Porter isn’t going to be a contender at heavyweight anytime soon, but he’s tough and puts on fun fights against lower level competition. I’d like to see him face someone like Carlos Felipe or Rodrigo Nascimento next.
Sherman has lost back to back fights now and is just 3-7 in his two UFC stints. He’s a lower tier heavyweight and matches up well with guys like Josh Parisian or Jared Vanderaa.
Saidyokub Kakhramonov stepped up on only four days notice to make his UFC debut and put Trevin Jones to sleep in the third round. Kakhramonov threatened Jones early with a deep guillotine choke and was tagging Jones on the feet, forcing Jones to initiate the grappling. With less than a minute left in the fight, Kakhramonov cinched in another deep guillotine choke and Jones was left unconscious. At only 25 years old, Kakhramonov looks like a promising prospect and I’m excited to see him with a full training camp.
This is Jones’ first loss since joining the UFC. He was originally scheduled to face Ronnie Lawrence last month and it would make sense to rebook that fight.
Vinc Pichel picked up his third straight win with a unanimous decision victory over Austin Hubbard. Pichel out-struck Hubbard for three rounds and had Hubbard hurt a few times. After the fight, Pichel mentioned running it back with Gregor Gillespie, but he’s unlikely to get his wish. Instead, I’d like to see him face the winner of the upcoming fight between Diego Ferreira and Grant Dawson.
Hubbard dropped to 3-4 in the UFC, but he’s a more talented fighter than the record suggests. He could face the winner of the upcoming fight between Alexander Hernandez and Leonardo Santos.
Kicking off the main card, Alexandre Pantoja submitted Brandon Royval in the second round via rear naked choke. The fight was a grappler’s delight with plenty of scrambles and both fighters pushing an incredible pace. Pantoja already owns two wins over current UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno so that fight sells itself. They first met on season 24 of “The Ultimate Fighter” with Pantoja submitting Moreno in the second round. Their second fight was in 2018 with Pantoja taking a unanimous decision.
Royval has now lost back to back fights, but he’s must watch and will give hell to any flyweight in the top ten. I’d like to see him face the loser of the upcoming fight between Alex Perez and Matt Schnell.